USA Strips Five Honorary Consuls of Accreditation
2016 January 24
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Update: It seems the US action of was prompted by severe harassment of US diplomatic personnel in Russia (as opposed to something any of the now-former honorary consuls may have done).

Preface
The following is based on two primary sources. The first is a 22 January 2016 statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry that the United States had summarily stripped five honorary consuls in the United States of their accreditation, and additionally threatened said honorary consuls with criminal prosecution. The second is the most recent edition (21 October 2015) of the US Department of State's document of record Foreign Consular Offices in the United States. I am confident I have identified the the five individuals said to have been subject of this US action. What I don't know or claim to understand is why the USA selected them for de-accreditation. Nor do I understand why the Russians have chosen to make a public issue of this. Readers may cross-reference the biographical details that follow with the State Department's data, but I prefer to leave the consuls unnamed here. The biographical details of which I speak are readily found in open sources - being a country's honorary consul is a high profile position, and all of the people involved here are to some extent public figures.

Allegedly De-Accredited Honorary Consul 1
Russian. Female. Trained as a translator with a specialization in aerospace. She met her husband - a prominent American astrophysicist* - at a conference about Mars. They married and she settled with him in Hawaii circa 1988/1989. She represented Orient-Avia airline in establishing Vladavostok-Honolulu flights circa 1996. She became involved in Hawaiian real estate, and was named Honorary Consul by Yevgeny Primakov** in 1998. She is best known as founder/Chair of a charity focused on providing medical aid in the Russian Far East. Her charitable work brought her together with the US Air Force and Boeing Corporation. More recently she relocated to Sacramento, CA.

* In addition to his academic work, her husband has played a key role in NASA projects for many decades.

**Primakov was at the time Foreign Minister, having previously served as First Deputy Chairman of KGB and first Director of SVR, and subsequently as Prime Minister, Russian Federation.

Allegedly De-Accredited Honorary Consul 2
A native Floridian and long-time Russophile, male. De-accredited Honorary Consul 2 wrote what amounts to a first-hand account of his recruitment by KGB officer V. Putin circa 1989-1990. Not that he viewed what happened as a recruitment, but his own version of the story leaves little doubt. He began working as an administrator at St. Petersburg Junior College in 1966, became a Dean in 1967, and President in 1978. Cleared in 2008 of wrongdoing regarding the hiring and promotion of a young Russian immigrant from Kazakhstan, Consul 2 nonetheless retired from the College in 2009, divorced his wife of over 40 years in 2010, and in 2011 married the aforementioned Russian immigrant. At that time he was 71 years old, and she 37. Among Consul 2's interests is the collection of Russia arts and crafts, something he has in common with the de-accredited Honorary Consul 3.

Allegedly De-Accredited Honorary Consul 3
The gentleman formerly known as the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation to Minneapolis is a gallery owner and art collector who splits his time between Minnesota and Scottsdale, AZ. He shares with Consul 5 a profound interest in Socialist Realism, and he is said to own the largest private collection of Soviet artwork glorifying Stalinism. When asked "Of what accomplishments are you most proud?" he replied:

In September of 2004, I was named an honorary consul of the Russian Federation. On January 19, 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded me the Order of Friendship in recognition of 20 years of efforts to enhance cultural understanding between Russia and the United States. The Order of Friendship is the highest honor given by the Russian Federation to a non-Russian individual."

Allegedly De-Accredited Honorary Consul 4
She came to the United States from Russia to pursue academic work in marketing and business management - work that included a sojourn in Minnesota, home of Consul 3. She has faithfully discharged her volunteer duties as representative of the Russian Federation in Puerto Rico since 2003.

Allegedly De-Accredited Honorary Consul 5
Male. American. LDS. Like Consul 2, Consul 5 is a career college administrator. Like Consul 3, he is an expert on Socialist Realism, and like Consul 1 he has links to Boeing and has been involved in aerospace. In fact he claims to have worked for Boeing, as well as TsAGI. On LinkedIn he describes that work as follows:

International Marketing Consultant
TsAGI
January 1995 – November 2015 (20 years 11 months) Utah and Zhukovsky, Russia
Russia's NASA equivalent, R&D on all aerospace equipment with contracts around the globe (Navy, Air Force, Boeing, Gulfstream, Embraer, etc.) Consulting in international marketing and communications.
Manager, Customer Requirements

Boeing Miliary[sic] Airplanes 1988 – 1991 (3 years)Wichita and Philadelphia
Primary work on military platforms with Air Force, Marine Corps, Special Operations and foreign customers.
He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Kyrgyz National University, and not-coincidentally his wife served for some years as an honorary consul of Kyrgystan.

© 2015-2016 Andrew Aaron Weisburd